Pigeons (Columba livia) are commonly found in cities around the world. This handsome bird, in its natural form, is primarily grey with metallic purple and green colouration on its breast and neck. Pigeons have orange eyes and feet, and black bars on their wings. Pigeon enthusiasts raise "homing pigeons," birds trained to race from a remote location back to their home. Pigeon owners often raise their own birds, and have to incubate them when the parents refuse to sit on the nest. Pigeon eggs take between 14 and 18 days to hatch under ideal conditions.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Plastic ice chest 12-by-20-inches wide and 12-inches high
- 2-foot-by-3-foot 1/4-inch welded mesh hardware cloth
- Duct tape
- Heating cable and micro-switch assembly
- Water pan
- 10-inch-by-14-inch acrylic sheet
- Brooding or incubator thermometer
- Box cutter
- Tin snips
Cut the hardware cloth six inches wider and longer than the inside of the ice chest with the tin snips. Cut a 3-inch square out of each corner. Bend each side down with the pliers, forming a 3-inch-high platform.
Tape the raw edges of the hardware cloth with the duct tape.
Place the water pan on the bottom of the chest and place the hardware cloth platform over it, legs-side down.
Mark 1-inch above the platform on each wall of the inside of the chest. Remove the tray and platform.
Place three strips of tape around all four sides inside the chest. The first should be just above the marks made in the previous step. The second should be 2.5 inches below the top of the chest, and the third should be placed in between the other two.
Install the micro-switch assembly so that the centre hole is 5.5 inches from the top of the chest with the outlet facing up. Pierce the side of the chest where the bolts will go using an awl.
Insert the 3/16-inch mounting bolts through the mounting bracket and through the chest wall. Slip on the washers and nuts. Insert the temperature control bolt from the outside, through the locking wingnut and into the centre hole.
Plug the heating cable into the micro-switch assembly and run it all around the interior of the incubator, weaving the heating cable up and down across the 3 pieces of tape previously placed inside the chest. Tape the cable in place.
Plug the pilot light into the micro-switch assembly.
Center the acrylic sheet on top of the chest. Cut 1/4-inch deep around the acrylic sheet with the box cutter. Do not cut through the lid.
Remove the acrylic and cut 3/4 inches inside the previous cut clear through the lid. Cut away material from the hole to the acrylic sheet outline previously cut, to trim away a shelf for the acrylic sheet to set down into. Place the acrylic sheet into the lid.
Make 1/4-inch holes on both long sides of the incubator for ventilation.
Place the tray and the platform back in the incubator. Place the thermometer on the platform. Pour water in the tray.
Place the lid on the incubator, plug in the micro-switch assembly in and adjust the temperature control bolt until the pilot light comes on.
Monitor the temperature and adjust the knob until the temperature reaches 37.8 degrees C.
Tips and warnings
- Turn the egg 1/2 turn every 12 hours.
- Check the temperature frequently, as excessively high temperatures are dangerous to the chicks.
- The cable loops cannot touch each other.
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